Saturday, August 6, 2011

Get That Money, Fool

Shortly after graduating from college, I attempted to work for myself. I had successfully gotten some freelance gigs and managed to land few feature stories because of my political work, so I was becoming popular in the city of Jackson. Of course, this brought new opportunities and potential business partners. One, of whom, was a communications company producing a publication for Hinds County. The magazine, as well as I, were paid as the result of the number of advertorials sold. So determined to make a significant amount of money, I set forth, getting companies to buy adds. It was funny though, the ads kept coming in, but my funds did not.

Finally, one day, I ask the people about my money and I was told I would be paid at the end of the project....although they were getting paid during the project. This experience taught me a lot of things, most importantly, always get your money or a portion of your money up front..no exceptions.

So now since I am once again building the Aziz empire, I decided to share a few tips for budding entrepreneurs.

1. Always get paid, no exceptions (and get it in writing, if neccessary!)

The smart entrepreneur is only impressed by green on the table, not promises
When you are young and ambitious you will often gravitate towards people who, you believe, can groom you and potentially help build your business financially. This will, sometimes, backfire. You see, sometimes people see that anxiousness for pure naivete, and some, undoubtedly, will try take advantage of it. Before you know it, they have you doing all of the footwork, using all of your resources and yet enjoying none of the benefits of your hard work. It's like the carrot and the stick, and I am assuming no one wants to be the ass in this scenario.

2. Don't Believe in Others Dreams More Than You Believe in Yours

Talented and intelligent people want to coordinate on projects. It is not unusual, for people who have a similar mission to want to work together and share a variety of resources, contacts or even office space. However, it is unfortunate, that some people will attempt to extinguish the flame of your passion, only to feed their fire instead. First, it starts as you doing small work for them, here and there. Before you know it, they are calling you and telling you, not requesting, what needs to be done to make their next project a success.  Always remember working with someone is different from working for someone. If that person is not cutting you a check, you are not obligated to spend more time promoting their ideas, talents and projects more than your own...after all you an employee?

3. Know Your Role

Often times as young people, we fail to realize our true potential and talent. As a result, we often give our ideas and skills away for free. Now don't get me wrong, I believe in paying your dues and putting in the work to make the necessary connections and get the skill set you need to be successful in your chosen path in life. I don't believe in doing free work  for people though, especially when I know they have the money. I often hear young people say they are doing a project for free because the project doesn't have a budget. I shake my head when I hear this, because its never the truth. The truth is only select people will be paid on the project...and why not you? If a person is maintaining an office, contracting with vendors, paying their own bills and still living a certain lifestyle, how can they have no budget for the project? The truth is they just like to work with people who do the work for free so they can pocket as much as they can for themselves. A smart entrepreneur has to be able to recognize when it is time to pay dues an when it is time to receive dues. If not, you will never collect your funds.

So, yes, the bottom line here is, know your value and set it accordingly. Don't be afraid to help people build their dream when you can. However, don't let their dream overtake yours. There are many young people that have made others rich by inadvertently giving away their ideas and hard work; I just hope you are not one of them.

Until Next Time Smooches

1 comment:

  1. Great tips for the budding entrepreneur, especially the part about getting things in writing. I think, however,that it's good to occasionally give away one freebie. And, please do something to clearly demonstrate that your intent is to build an empire.

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